Well, the Green Bay Packers are halfway through the season with much more to come and much more to do.
It has been quite the ride to 5-3.
Let’s take a few moments to give out a few “awards” for the first half.
Offensive MVP: Aaron Rodgers. The man lost nearly his entire offense, and then proceeded to look even better than he did with said offense. He is arguably the best quarterback in the league and makes the offense better when he steps onto the field.
Defensive MVP: Morgan Burnett. Sure, I could go for a flashy player, but Morgan Burnett has steadied a secondary that looked pretty rough to start the year. He is mainly the reason this team is ranked 20th versus the pass and not 32nd (which oddly enough is where the Philadelphia Eagles, the Packers’ next opponent, is ranked).
Special-teams MVP: Mason Crosby. I don’t think any of us thought he would come out after going 21/33 and making only 63.6 percent of his field goals last year to go 19/21 for 90.5 percent. He has been a surprise MVP, but needed MVP.
Most Improved: Sam Shields. Shields looked out of sorts last year, but not this year. He has usurped the shutdown corner role from Tramon Williams (not that it was much of a challenge, unfortunately), and made Ted Thompson start to reach for his checkbook.
Least Improved: Tramon Williams. He has done OK in the role he has been in, but for someone who was thought to become one of the top corners in the NFL, he has taken a nosedive and has never been the same since the shoulder injury. He may not even be in a Packers uniform next year with the depth to the secondary, the emergence of Micah Hyde, and the need to re-sign Sam Shields.
Biggest Surprise: Micah Hyde. Who thought that a fifth round pick would have such an impact? He might just take the slot role eventually. He fits in the mold of Charles Woodson, is very intelligent, and should keep Randall Cobb away from any punt or kickoff return for the foreseeable future.
Biggest Disappointment: Datone Jones. Ted Thompson’s high picks of defensive linemen keep looking bad. Jones was supposed to be a force that would cause Clay Matthews and Nick Perry to roam free in the offensive backfield. Instead he has not been the same after an ankle injury, and has been riding the pine for the most part.
Best Rookie: David Bakhtiari/Eddie Lacy. Like Micah Hyde, who could have foreseen that a fourth round offensive lineman would step in when arguably our best player on the line went down, while performing beautifully? He may just have won the starting job for years to come. And how about Eddie Lacy? Sure, we knew he was good coming in, immediately making the running game viable. The Packers can survive losing Rodgers for a while because of him.
Best-kept Secret: Mike Daniels. The man has been relentless. Yes, he is undersized, but he plays with more heart than guys twice his size, and that is the reason he leads the team in sacks. Well, part of it. Half the defense has been injured. He is still playing at a high level.
Best Coaching Move: Changing up the offensive line. No one would have ever thought this change would have worked. Especially after Bryan Bulaga went down. But Mike McCarthy did it, showed a new commitment to the running game, and here we are, ranked second in rushing. Great move.
Worst Coaching Move: Hiring the current conditioning staff. I cannot stand the words “hamstring injury.” It seems like we hear it every week. Can someone please look for a new staff that will tell the players what to do in the offseason?
Biggest Concern: Aaron Rodgers’ injury. Can the Packers survive the next 4-6 weeks? Can Rodgers get back quickly, say in three to four weeks? Will he go on a run similar to 2010 after he gets back? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Key to the Second Half: The defense playing out of its mind. If the defense can play well and get takeaways, the Packers can survive the stretch without Rodgers. If not, they’ll be going home in December.
The Packers will make the playoffs if: They can go at least 2-2 with Rodgers out and Eddie Lacy and James Starks can sustain the second-ranked running game.
How about your thought and your picks?